People with osteoporosis and previous fracture should not fear regular exercise, according to a new consensus statement on how to maximize bone health, improve posture and prevent fractures.

More, rather than less, is the answer when it comes to exercise for those with bone loss, wrote the authors, a multidisciplinary expert panel in the United Kingdom. In general, clinicians should avoid restricting physical activity based on bone mineral density or fracture thresholds, to avoid sending a message that exercise isn’t safe, they advised.

Even frail or elderly patients and people who have experienced a vertebral fracture should continue to pursue activities that build protective muscle strength, they noted. But these patients should exercise only up to the level of low-impact routines such as brisk walking for 20 minutes each day, they recommended.

For healthy or younger patients without vertebral fracture, an appropriate routine might include muscle strengthening two to three weekdays and brief bursts of moderate-impact aerobic activity such as Zumba. 

“Osteoporosis exercise programs, like other exercise programs for older people and those with long-term conditions, need to be more than a prescribed set of exercises,” they wrote. “They need to consider education and physical literacy, support and goal setting, motivation strategies, behavior change techniques and take into consideration needs and preferences.”

Full findings were published in the BMJ.

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